County of Wetaskiwin, Ermineskin to collaborate on flood project

County of Wetaskiwin, Ermineskin to collaborate on flood project

High water every spring surrounding Hwy. #2A subject of talk

The County of Wetaskiwin and the Ermineskin First Nation have begun discussion on collaborating to solve a serious high water issue in the area.

During their regular Public Works meeting Oct. 9, councilors heard a report from Manager of Public Works Neil Powell about regular flooding occurring in the region surrounding Hwy. #2A between Wetaskiwin and Maskwacis and the effects on traffic and infrastructure.

“When looking at roads in Division 3, particularly those bordering and entering the Ermineskin Nation, ideas were formulated in what the best course of action would be to improve roads in the area,” stated Powell in his report to council.

“The flooding within the Ermineskin lands and areas within the County of Division 3 and further east into Division 1 are well documented and present significant problems during seasonal spring melts and larger rain events. This affects roads, road crossings, bridge infrastructure, private lands and residential housing.

“Ultimately, to improve roadways and roadway crossings and to mitigate damage from flooding, it is necessary to understand the entire scope of the problem. This is where ROHI (an engineering firm) was directed to broaden its scope of study to include the overall drainage basin that affects the areas in question.”

ROHI representatives gave a detailed report to council about the high water issues in Division 1 and 3, noting there are some upstream issues, some of which are on the Ermineskin First Nation. ROHI stated the same high water problems come up every spring.

Upstream, ROHI investigated some of the problems which included culverts that were too small, for example.

It was stated at the meeting a provincial grant program perfectly applies to this situation. Powell stated in his report, “Over the past several months, the County along with ROHI and Ermineskin, have been in discussions regarding initial results of the drainage study and what options and opportunities are available. It was agreed that ROHI would be directed to collect and develop the necessary information for an application to the Alberta Community Resilience Program (ACRP). The application includes the completed ROHI Engineering Study which was a collaborative effort between the County and Ermineskin Nation. The drainage study and other information inclusive of project scope, cost and benefits were prepared and submitted to the ACRP at the end of September, 2018.”

ROHI representatives noted the Ermineskin First Nation knows there are issues to address with the high water, and the band has been very good to work with on this project.

Councilor Josh Bishop asked if there was any problem with Hwy. #2A being so close to areas of concern. It was stated that the land in questions is not being used and the land is identified as wetland. It’s also far enough away from Hwy. #2A that it shouldn’t pose a problem.

Councilor Terry Van de Kraats asked, if grants are obtained, when the project would start. ROHI stated that ideally the project would begin downstream, then move upstream and probably take two summers. Powell noted plans are to include this project in the 2019 budget.

Reeve Kathy Rooyakkers said the project seems to be a very good idea. “It sounds like a win-win, both for Ermineskin and us,” said Rooyakkers.

Councilors accepted the report for information.

Stu.salkeld@pipestoneflyer.ca